May 23, 2014

Hi..I'm in Delaware.

Don't even think about going that way
I mentioned in an earlier post that I wasn't going to Point Pelee this year for spring migration. But there's a bit more to the story. First of all, the reason. Quick version: some friends got married in Maryland on May 3rd and my wife was a bridesmaid in the wedding. What I want to know is, who gets married during bird migration?!??!!
I mean really.
Okay, the wedding was lovely. I had a great time and my wife and I planned a mini road trip afterwards. And because she's such a beautiful and thoughtful and loving person, even though she doesn't get this bizarre obsession any more than I do and has pretty much no interest in birds herself, my wife insisted that we include a stop somewhere that I could see some birds. And so I found Bombay Hook.

Just like Pelee, Red-winged Blackbirds everywhere
Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge sits on the western shore of Delaware Bay a short drive from Delaware's charming capital of Dover.
After reading lists and studying the birds I might find there, the first thing I had to know about  Bombay Hook was what is up with the name. And it took very little to learn that it's a bastardization of the name given to the area by the Dutch settlers (who purchased the land from the Kahansink people). The Dutch called it Boompjes Hoeck, meaning "Little-tree Point" and, well, Americans being Americans it's now called Bombay Hook.

Almost 16,000 acres of largely tidal salt marshes (and a number of fresh water impoundments) means hundreds of thousands of birds flock here every year including quite a few species I've never seen and don't get much of a chance to see up north -- mainly a lot of shorebirds.
See the highlights after the jump and click on any image to enlarge.